Sunday, September 30, 2007

Notes for Sunday 9/30

Unofficial Notes for Sunday, September 30, 6247

General Updates
  • Scheduled guest speaker next Sunday (10/7), but the Maafa commemoration is scheduled, and we'll need to reschedule. It would be good to go to the Maafa with a strong understanding of our rituals. Decided to cancel the class taught by Baba Manu next Sunday, since only 2 students would be willing to come to a 10:30 am class.

Review the Assignment (Shoebox Shrine)

  • Asked students to create a shoebox shrine; emphasizing you can make your own - there's no need to buy one, and you can create one from simple items around your home, or that are easy to obtain; it's also less expensive
  • One could later expand and place more items around the box; you can also put it away to avoid having to answer questions or avoiding persons who don't know how to respect your shrine
  • Showed an example of a shoebox shrine; mentioned adding incense, bells, natron, statues, food offerings (such as nuts, other items), distilled water, etc.
  • Students shared their boxes; one plans to completely cover the box with material
  • If you don't want an animal image or neter, you can create a knot with string to make an ankh
  • Sand was used for purifying - to walk on in a sanctuary, but it was removed after the ceremony or ritual
  • Will use incense pellets, and perhaps a small spoon to scoop them out with; the brass containers do get hot so need to be careful about what surface it's sitting on
  • Can use a small bowl with water to simulate the lake or even, as an example, a blue tile
Alignment of the Shrine
  • Want to line the temple up north/south - using Sirius Rising; based on magnetic poles; may want to align based on how the sunlight strikes your shrine
    • You can also do an east-west alignment (symbolic for birth and rebirth)
    • Try to align based on lines of energy
    • The alignment may also determine/influence what you decide to include in the altar
    • You may store it anywhere you want, and align it whenever you use it
What is the purpose of the Shrine?
  • Altar is usually a surface, where the ritual is conducted; a shrine is enclosed
  • The contents of the shrine are really determined by individual preference
  • Student suggests that your home could be a shrine
Other Notes on the Ritual
  • To purify a person, you pour over their head or sprinkle water on them
  • Use water to purify a space and to establish a sacred boundary
  • Using incense for an offering, as well as fruit, wine, etc.
    • Incense can be associated with divine breath and the presence of a neter
  • Reviews the "Episodes in the Ipet Sut Temple Liturgy"
    • Baba Ray discusses the details on how priests performed the ritual; included approach the shrine on your knees, covering ones eyes, placing sand on the ground, unclothes the neter (statue), wash the statue, perform libations and sacred oils, a gesture for opening the mouth and the sacred oil on the forehead, replace the clothing with fresh clothing, walk around the shrine 4 times, close the shrine, and walk backwards while sweeping
    • Doesn't expect everyone to remember the details of the ritual, but want each student to begin developing a ritual for their own shrine
Final Notes
  • ipet, which means "temple", may not be pronounced "e-pet", shows an image with further discussion about another way of viewing/reciting the word for temple
Next Assignment
  • Develop a libation text, using the handouts that Mama Zerita provided (see below)
    • You always drink first - to test the quality first
Libation Handout


I. Invoke the supreme deity, mentioning one of his/her positive

functions or qualities.

II. Invoke one (or more lesser deities), mentioning one of their qualities.

Note: Often an earth deity would be mentioned as the source of

water, game, harvests, etc. Tree, water, bush, rock and

other spirits are mentioned next (See animism).

III. Invoke one or more ancestors

Note: In matrilineal societies, the names of female ancestors at

the head of matrilineal lines would be mentioned.

IV. Invoke the person (or persons) on whose behalf libation is poured

(or sprinkled) mentioning a positive quality of that person, if this

aspect applies.

V. Invoke an evil or troublesome deity declaring that it has been made

ineffective because of some specific action that has been taken against

it (e.g., binding, cutting up, incineration, etc.) So that it, or its followers, cannot cause conflict or affliction.

VI. Explain the purpose of the libation and put forth a request

VII. Close the libation by expressing best wishes for the health and

wellbeing of the community, people (or person) on whose behalf

libation was poured.

Note: The deity invoked is asked to "come and drink" as the

libation liquid is sprinkled or poured in small portions on

or into the receiving surface. A chanted response follows

each evocation. A libation song may be sung to the accom-

paniment of rhythmic singing, handclapping and/or drum-



John H. Mcdowell, "A Glimpse of Ghana,"< ghana.htm>K.K. Amos Anti, "Libation in the Old Testament and Akan Life and Thought,"

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